Proposes constituting ‘Oversight Committee’ to resolve issues of non-Muslim Pakistanis.



ISLAMABAD   -   Pakistan People’s Party chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said yesterday that all the citizens belong to any religion were equal as nationals of Pakistan.

Addressing the National Minorities Convention at the National Assembly, he said that he appreciated the way the day is being observed in the National Assembly. “The stance of the PPP from Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to Benazir Bhutto and till today is that every citizen of Pakistan has equal rights politically, socially and economically. This is a part of our manifesto and the constitution. Now, it is the responsibility of every political party to work to change this dream into a reality,” Bilawal – the incumbent Foreign Minister – said. He said that the decision to observe Minorities Day every year on 11 August was taken by the PPP government. “Now, we have to take practical steps to provide our people the opportunities to get their rights. The Speaker may form a committee representing every political party in this regard,” he added. Foreign Minister proposed constituting a ‘Parliamentary Oversight Committee’ to resolve issues related to minorities especially the forced conversions.

Bilawal said that forced conversions are an issue. Islam and the constitution do not permit forced conversions. “We should come together and legislate to put an end to this. This House must look into the quota issue for every community and whether the quota is being implemented and people are getting employment opportunities. What can we do to make this a reality? We have to act and implement on the legislation for employment opportunities. Our actions will tell the nation that we believe in Jinnah’s Pakistan. We want to see a Pakistan where every citizen is equal,” he added. The PPP, he said, had always tried to represent every community in elections. “We want the representation of every community in our system. We have Mahesh Malani from Tharparkar who was directly elected as member of the National Assembly. We have Senator Krishna Kohli of the PPP, the first senator from her community. Every Pakistani remembers Shaheed Shahbaz Bhatti of the PPP who was a federal minister,” he recalled. He sacrificed his life but did not compromise on the rights of his people.

 “We have the representation of non-Muslims in the Sindh cabinet. This was the promise made by the father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. We have to fulfil that promise,” Bilawal said.